WELLNESS | Reading List for National Heart Health Month
The risk to heart and health caused by harmful daily habits is one of the most common issues that affect the average American. Trauma, diet, heredity, and age all play a part in heart health, and each factor must be considered in health-related decisions to lead a healthier lifestyle. With February, National Heart Health Month, already upon us, we offer some brief and broad heart information list that may be of use.
The American Heart Association states that often-seen health problems include:
Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
- Basic Info: Arrhythmia is a change from the normal sequence of electrical impulses. If impulses deviate from normal rhythm, blood can’t be pumped properly to the rest of the body.
- Causes: lingering damage from heart attack, high blood pressure, obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity, tobacco smoke
- Quick Advice: Most kinds of arrhythmia may not be cause for concern. Yet make sure to seek a doctor’s diagnosis first in order to know about the severity of your possible arrhythmia.
High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
- Basic Info: The two numbers you receive when you take your blood pressure are called systolic (pressure in artery walls when heart beats) and diastolic (pressure in artery walls between heartbeats). The normal systolic number is less than 120mm Hg while less than 80mm Hg is normal for diastolic.
- Causes: family history, natural aging, gender, lack of exercise, too much salt, obesity, excess alcohol consumption, smoking and second-hand smoke, sleep apnea, and preexisting conditions.
- Quick Advice: While science has not yet proven connections between high blood pressure and stress, situational stress causes blood pressure to increase temporarily and may lead to other poor habits that have negative effects on the heart. Give yourself time to rest for 15-20 minutes several times throughout the day.
- Basic Info: There are two different kinds of cholesterol: HDL and LDL. HDL (good cholesterol) helps control LDL (bad cholesterol) so that the latter does not clog your arteries.
- Causes: genetics, diets high in saturated fats and trans fats, low HDL levels. Women are also at higher due to hormones, depending on age.
- Quick Advice: Daily exercise helps produce more good cholesterol.
- Basic Info: Everyday activities become difficult when a weakened heart can’t deliver enough blood to the cells. A chronic, progressive condition, heart failure occurs when the heart muscle can no longer function as it must.
- Causes: Past heart attack (myocardial infarction), high blood pressure, abnormal heart valves, heart muscle disease (dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), heart inflammation (myocarditis), congenital heart disease, several lung disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea.
- Quick Advice: Take note of what your body tells you. If normal tasks become more difficult, it may be time to visit your doctor with your concerns.
Many more conditions as well as further facts, details, and advice about the conditions listed above can be found at the American Heart Association’s website, which offers information at a far greater scale.
Whether you know you have one of these conditions or you fear you may be at risk for developing one, make sure you don’t miss your annual visit to the doctor for a check-up, one of the most important aspects of maintaining your health. Finally, check out our reading list for better heart living!
Written by H. Robert Silverstein, M.D.
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Written by Jon J. Kabara
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Written by James Forleo, DC
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Written by Brad Walker
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Written by Douglas W. Morrison, Foreword by David J. Pesek Ph.D.
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Written by Paul Pitchford
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Written by Geoffrey Donnan, M.D. and Carol Burton
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